LIPPMANN POLISHES HER ACT
Byline: Cassandra Chiacchio
NEW YORK — Deborah Lippmann thinks it is time for sophisticated women to have a new option when it comes to nail products since trendy, youth-oriented lines have dominated the market for the past several years.
In response, Lippmann, a jazz singer and celebrity manicurist, has created the Lippmann Collection, a prestige line of nail care products featuring colors that she describes as classic but fashion-forward.
The Lippmann Collection went on sale this fall at Henri Bendel, Sephora and Zitomer in New York as well as Fred Segal Essentials in Santa Monica. Lippmann also sells the line through her Web site, lippmanncollection.com, which features a celebrity manicure portfolio of her work and tips on nail care.
Industry sources estimate Lippmann’s line will do $750,000 in retail sales in 2000.
The nail polish explosion of the mid-Nineties has slowed down considerably, but Lippmann felt this would be the perfect time for her line to really stand out and not just be one of the crowd. Unlike many of the current nail lines, like Hard Candy, Urban Decay and Solar F/X, Lippmann’s doesn’t focus on trendy, alternative colors geared toward a youthful audience, but rather classics with a twist, like Makin’ Whoopee, an opalescent hot pink.
Originally from Phoenix, Lippmann studied music in college. While getting a manicure one day, she wondered aloud how she would support her singing career and pay the rent. Her manicurist, quite literally, “handed” her the answer.
Lippmann took her advice and became a manicurist. She arrived in New York about six years ago and landed herself a job in the Frederic Fekkai Salon.
It was there that she was discovered by Bobbi Brown, the makeup artist and cosmetics entrepreneur. Brown was so impressed with her manicure from Lippmann that she called Allure magazine to recommend her for sittings. Soon, Lippmann had an agent and a job as manicurist to the stars. She amassed such celebrity clients as Cher, Sigourney Weaver and Mariah Carey.
While working, she noticed that many of the new nail colors were designed for teens or were too alternative for her clientele. As many of her clients were not going for the army-fatigue green or neon orange look favored by the teenage set, Lippmann felt that a more sophisticated line, created by a nail specialist, was needed.
With that concept in mind, Lippmann set out to create her line and was involved in all aspects of the development process, from the design of the bottles to the number and length of the bristles in the brush.
The collection consists of 27 colors, priced at $15 each, and six treatments, priced from $16 to $18. Each polish comes in a sculpted square reminiscent of a vintage perfume bottle.
Lippmann, whose jazz career is still active, put her own personal note on the colors by naming each one after a favorite jazz standard, such as “In The Mood” or “Fever.” She’s confident that her line will have the same longevity as some of the songs she’s so fond of performing.
“Since the colors are classic,” she said, “they’ll be around forever.”